Each passing day the mornings grow lighter and signs of spring begin to gather from the first Snow Drops to Crocus, buds start to swell and the days seem a little warmer now and then. Here at the nursery we have made quite few changes and have completed our new central circular display bed that has been proudly finished with a beautiful  large hardy plam Trachycarpus fortunii and we are looking forward to watching her reach for the sky in years to come and yes we believe her to be a ‘she’ because hardy palms come as male and female and she had some tell tale seed pods attached on arrival that indicate she could be a girl, yet to be confirmed in seasons to come…

We eagerly await our new garden centre building which is due to be constructed in the coming months and we are all looking forward being able to offer a great range of house plants for sale. In the mean time we have been very busy re-potting nearly all of last season’s plants into larger pots in anticipation of the new season. We have been preparing the soil in the vegetable polytunnels for the tomatoes and potatoes that we grow for our coffee shop and the overwinter salad seedlings are growing well too. We have also been preparing some organic plant feed in the form of nettle tea that should be aged to perfection by the time it is needed for our vegetables in spring and in addition to this we have started early seedlings of Cornflower and Sweet Pea that will brighten our display borders in the summer months. We have plans to have a great range of roses for 2018 with quite a few interesting newer varieties including ‘Hot Chocolate’ and ‘Ebb Tide’. As well as this we are also hoping to increase the range of Clematis we have on offer, with beautiful varieties that have come all the way from the island of Guernsey!

Although things can seem slow in the garden towards late winter and early spring there is plenty to appreciate and keep busy with, this is certainly a great time of year to tidy things up, wash pots, clear out old sheds and really plan and prepare for the coming season. Some Seeds that need an early start are Sweet Pea, Cleome and Cobaea. As the season progresses mid-March is the perfect time to sow most other summer flowering annuals such as cosmos and Dahlias, it is also a good time to sow many of your main crop vegetables. There are many herbs that benefit from an early sowing, winter salads like ‘Salad Bowl’ can be sown right through the season from now. If you have good facility you can also consider giving tomatoes and chillies an early start too. It is also a good time to choose your seed potatoes and you can even try planting a few under cover for some really early new potatoes. Consider purchasing summer flowering bulbs, there is a fantastic array of Dahlia tubers and Gladioli corms on offer at this time of year. It is also advisable to check which pruning group your over grown climbers and shrubs fall into, as there are quite a number that need a tidy up in late winter to late spring, further advice on pruning groups can be found on the Royal Horticultural Societies website or by asking us at the Garden Centre.

I hope you will find some time and fine days to get out into your garden before late spring gets underway, as a little bit of early work in the garden at this time of year can really make a difference by the time summer arrives which often happens faster than you think!

Luke